Quality Seeds key To Increase Crop Yield ― Minister

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar has said that quality seeds is the foundation of crop production and a stimulus for increased agricultural yield as the ministry continues to drive policies that will guarantee food security, nutrition, and economic growth.

The Minister disclosed this during a familiarization visit to the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Sheda, Gwagwalada in Abuja.

Dr Abubakar noted that quality seeds would ensure a credible, dynamic competitive and relevant ecosystem for healthy and high-quality planting materials for Nigerian Farmers.

He commended the agency for its contribution towards ensuring the availability of quality seeds for Nigeria farmers, adding that the ministry will continue to support the agency to achieve its core mandate

Abubakar noted that ‘’ NASC is Africa’s leading seed regulator, which has fostered the emergence of a globally competitive seed sector, with planting material that is available, accessible, and affordable for all farmers’’.

In his welcome remarks, the Director-General, National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr Phillip Olusegun Ojo, stated the agency has made remarkable achievements which included; the Successful review of the National Agricultural Seeds Council Act (today, we have the NASC Act 2019), the Introduction of a plant variety protection (PVP) law in Nigeria (PVP Act 2021).

Others are setting up a molecular laboratory that can compete with those anywhere in the world, Implementation of the turn-key electronic seed authentication system (Called the SeedCodex) and Development of Plant Descriptors for select varieties of Maize, Rice, and Soybean.

Dr Ojo said that ‘’the NASC has a responsibility to ensure that only seeds that have met the minimum standard as provided for in the act is sold to farmers, Certifies all Seed Field intended for Marketing in Nigeria. This includes Breeder Seeds, Foundation Seeds and Certified Seeds’’.

The minister was later conducted round the facilities at the agency some of which are: the Molecular laboratory, BioChemical laboratory, Central seed testing Laboratory, Moisture content section, germination section, quality control centre and also a cotton demonstration farm.

The Minister also visited the Rice Mill under construction at Sheda- Gwagwalada and promised to ensure the completion of the project before the end of the first quarter of 2022.

The construction of the rice mill under the PPP arrangement is part of the government’s drive to create jobs, diversify the economy and attain self-sufficiency in rice production in the country. The rice mill is said to have the capacity of processing 4metric tons of rice per hour when completed.



source tribuneonlineng.com

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